Bill Rosenberg did not have a happy Valentine's Day.

Rosenberg, 19, a George Mason University freshman, has been waging his own campaign to help the homeless by raising money for ALIVE, an Alexandria coalition of churches that runs homeless shelters and helps families having financial difficulty pay their rent.

Last fall, with the help of student volunteers from Alexandria's Hammond Intermediate School, he said he raised $2,500 by selling fruit baskets at area malls, money he had hoped to turn over to ALIVE in a special ceremony at the end of this month.

Last month, he came up with a plan to raise still more money. In return for a $20 deposit, he would order a customer a dozen long-stem roses. Rosenberg would buy the dozen flowers for $30 wholesale, and on Valentine's Day weekend the customer would pay another $20 and pick them up at one of four shopping centers in Northern Virginia. The customer would get a dozen roses for $40, about $10 below the market price, and Rosenberg would get a profit of $10 on each dozen that he would then turn over to ALIVE.

But there were problems.

As Rosenberg tells it, he got 100 orders for roses, but about 50 of the customers never showed up to claim them. "They thought they were donating money and they thought it didn't matter whether they picked up the roses," he said.

In fact, Rosenberg lost $10 on each one not claimed, because the $20 deposit did not cover the $30 cost.

Meanwhile, other people who went to claim their roses at the Seven Corners Mall, one of the pickup points, didn't get their flowers. Rosenberg said a volunteer went to the wrong mall. Two customers said Rosenberg had called them to assure them their roses would be ready, and but when they arrived at the mall, they said no one was there. Rosenberg later said he would refund their money.

Rosenberg had also ordered four truckloads of chocolates on consignment to sell to Valentine's Day impulse buyers. Unable to find volunteers, he hired temporary workers to go to Maryland malls to sell them.

But the hordes of Valentine's Day husbands and lovers he anticipated stayed home, he said, and the sales of chocolate were "significantly" below the cost of hiring the workers.

When he went to pick up the money from the chocolate sales at the Capitol Plaza Mall in Landover, he said he was mugged at knifepoint of almost $600.

The upshot is there won't be a ceremony at the end of the month to turn over the $2,500. Rosenberg would not say how much money is left, but ALIVE President Richard Glassco said Rosenberg told him it might be about $800.

Rosenberg said he planned to work this summer or find some other way to give ALIVE the full amount. "I am indebted to him {Glassco} on the $2,500," Rosenberg said. "It's a moral obligation and I feel responsible to pay him."